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Are some kids born evil? Q&A with Dr. Ramey

Question

Do you think that some kids are just born evil? I have four kids, and the oldest who is now 16 has been a problem since he was a baby. I’ve talked to him, spanked him, and even sent him to live with his grandpa, but nothing works. I’m done with him and I’m tired of getting blamed for being a bad mother.

Answer

Despite these difficulties, you can’t ever give up on your child. Your connection to him is forever, but that doesn’t mean you should enable your teen’s bad behavior or rescue him when he gets in trouble.

Your son is old enough to get a job. I’ve found that “work therapy” is great for many teens with problem behaviors. They learn things from a boss at work that they don’t get from their parents at home. Rather than give your son an allowance or let him use your car, require him to work to earn money for the things he wants.

I can’t tell you how many parents have told me about kids that were severe problems as children but somehow figured things out and went on to live meaningful lives. Hang in there!

 

Question

I’m a stay at home mom with three amazing kids and a wonderful husband. However, I really miss working and find myself resenting my children. While I enjoy taking care of them, I’m missing out on the most productive time of my career but don’t see a way out of this dilemma.

Answer

It often feels impossible to balance your personal, professional, and parenting lives while still maintaining a close relationship with your spouse. You first have to accept the uncomfortable reality that you can’t have it all. You’ll have to compromise some areas of your life in order to achieve something that you value more.

The solution to this dilemma starts with a conversation with your spouse. You are a team, connected for life by your love for each other and your commitment to your children. Discuss what both of you might do to make the situation better, rather than a fruitless search for a perfect solution for all.

Question

My two preteen girls are constantly bickering at each other. The name calling and sarcasm is endless around the dinner table. Talking with them does no good. Would therapy help for this?

Answer

No! The solution is easy and you can fix the problem yourself within a few days.

First, make sure that each of the girls clearly understands what language you find unacceptable. Second, come up with a simple consequence that you can easily implement whenever the kids use unacceptable language. Such consequences may be restrictions on computer, phones, etc. Finally, and most importantly, stop talking and consistently implement those consequences. Do not threaten, lecture, discuss, explain, or give second changes. This behavior will stop within two days once the kids learn that you mean what you say.

 

Do you have a question for Dr. Ramey? Visit our website to learn how you can submit a question!

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